A beautiful book. A certain look at the island, the houses, the beauty and the savors, the encounters and the souvenirs that can be narrated in a real travel book of 240 pages with the most beautiful images of the art of life in St.Barth.

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It is a place that is rocked by the waves, where the skies change constantly, going from pastel blue to indigo, punctuated by clouds.
An island where houses are covered with bougainvilleas and where the water is so clear that you can see the fish from the surface. Everywhere you look, you can see the sea, the ocean, the creeks, the hills and the long crescent shaped white sand beaches, the sand is so fine that it sticks to your skin. Empty soda cans, to be used as ashtrays, available at the entrance to each beach, remind us that the island is beautiful and wants to stay that way. How can one not abuse of the magic of the place? Such a peaceful place where life goes by between swimming and laying in the shade because the Caribbean sun can burn, even when cooled by the trade winds. Names that give hints to their origins such as Anse des Lézards, Anse des Cayes or Ilet Tortue and Ilet Fourchu.
The villages and the beaches of Corossol, Colombier, Lorient, Gustavia, Flamand, St. Jean, Saline and Gouverneur are located on either the windward side or the leeward side of the island, which makes them all very different. Here, the past has left marks that remind us that this piece of France, lost in the middle of the Caribbean, was handed over to Sweden in 1784.
Here, the past has left marks that remind us that this piece of France, lost in the middle of the Caribbean, was handed over to Sweden in 1784.
The first French settlers from Normandy, Vendée and Charente Maritime arrived on the island in 1648. There were 448 whites and 281 black slaves who lived in Saint Barthélemy when Gustave III, the king of Sweden, took possession of the island and declared Gustavia a free port. The street names, the Wall House, the pretty wooden houses with an upper wooden level and Fort Gustave III are still there to remind us of the prosperous Swedish period of the island that was given back to the French in 1878.
Saint Barthélémy went back to being the poor, long lost and forgotten French island. We can safely say, that after Christopher Columbus, it was the Americans who re-discovered the island with Rockefeller, the first to fall under the spell of this little piece of the West Indies, still unknown, natural, peaceful and way off the beaten track. The American billionaire believed that he has discovered a forgotten paradise, and he was right. Others would follow, the international jet setters fell in love with St. Barths, the yachts now line up in the little harbor in Gustavia, dream houses are incrusted in to the hills with fabulous views of the ocean but well hidden from indiscreet eyes.

Even though it has become so popular, and that we see so many glamorous pictures of this millionaire’s paradise, it has still kept its soul.
The inhabitants remember the difficult times when they lived to the rhythm of the fishing and the schooners, before Rémy de Haenen first landed his plane, this adventurer who was the first to want to give a new breath of life to St. Barths. The elders are still here to tell us about their hard, poor life. Many of them still live in their little wooden houses where the « famous » hammock is still hung in the living room for an afternoon nap.
The barrel to collect rain water is still placed by the front door and some people still breed a few goats in their front yard. It’s the way of life in St. Barths. It’s with these friends that I like to speak for hours, in the shade of a veranda… they like to tell me their stories and share their memories, the adventures of their island and their lives.
An island, today in the spotlight, but where much is still to be discovered… the hills and the cliffs to be climbed and explored, the paths only known to the goats and a special few, under the flocks of birds flying up in the high blue skies.


     


Texts, design, photos are by Danielle Roche


Photographer, designer, editor, 20 years ago Danielle Roche created her first ‘art of life’ magazine, with the titles VIVRE Ile de Ré, Deauville, Tahiti and St.Tropez. Decorator, she also creates lines of bathroom fragrances for the body and was an interior decorator in St.Barth before opening her boutique La Maison des Isles, a universe of charm.
With Saint Barth Island Life, she signs her first book, the art of life.

Publisher



Danielle Roche

COB. Les Galeries du Commerce
BP 581 St-Jean
97098 St-Barthélémy FWI

Mobile: (+590) 0690 33 23 27

vivremag@hotmail.com
www.danielleroche.com

Points of Sailing

 

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